Trinidad e Tobago
UNITED National Congress (UNC) leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says the People's National Movement is "ducking Parliament" to avoid debating the motion of no confidence filed against national security minister Stuart Young. The Opposition filed a no-confidence motion against Young last week, it said, because of "Young’s failure to faithfully discharge his duties to the people of this nation as their Minister of National Security," underscored by "the draconian and authoritarian decision to keep our borders closed to citizens." Speaking at a virtual rally on Monday, Persad-Bissessar told supporters the PNM and Young need to face the motion sooner or later. "They went on the longest recess after a Christmas break. Parliament was supposed to convene this Friday...That private motion against Stuart Young would have been debated in the Parliament (this) Friday," she said, reminding supporters of the one day per month opportunity for the Opposition to file such motions. "They are ducking the Parliament. They are after the results (local by-elections) come out on Monday. "So look, Stuart. Whether we do it this Friday, we do it next Friday, whichever day we do it – it's licks coming for you, because you're the most incompetent Minister of National Security we've ever had. "So if you think you've escaped, you have not. You will have to come to Parliament and you will have to explain to people why it is that you are acting illegally, shutting down the rights of every citizen that you have stranded abroad. It is a right under common law. It is a right under the Immigration Act It. It is the right of every citizen to enter into the country. "Whilst we were locking out our nationals, you were busy bringing here Delcy Rodriguez (Venezuelan vice-president) and her crew. (You) brought them into the country immediately after you lock it down. What exemption did she get? What criteria did you use?" [caption id="attachment_858770" align="alignnone" width="852"] Minister of National Security Stuart Young -[/caption]
PNM Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden candidate Kelvon Morris has demanded the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) be disqualified for having not yet presented its manifesto to Tobagonians. The THA election is being held on January 25. Addressing the party’s Focus on Youth forum in Castara on Monday night, Morris urged the young people to reject the PDP’s leader Watson Duke and deputy leader Farley Augustine when they come seeking votes. “Young men and young women, when you see those two men coming, ‘Tobago Trump’ (Duke) and ‘Tobago poser boy’ (Augustine), coming with their rope as if is Carnival, I want you to ask them, ‘Before they even open their mouths, just ask them, ‘Where is your plan?’ “We don’t want nothing off the top of their head. We want them to give us something that we can actually peruse and we can scrutinise, because we young people are smart people and we are not going to allow them to hoodwink us. We are not going to allow them to outsmart us.”
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services Jacintha Bailey-Sobers is calling on the private sector tohelp manage centres for the homeless as the government addresses the issue of street dwellers. Bailey-Sobers made the call at a meeting between the ministry and the business community on street dwellers at the Dr Linda Baboolal Room, Cabildo Chambers, St Vincent Street, Port of Spain on Monday. She said one of the challenges the authorities have faced when housing the homeless is getting them to move on from the centres, leading to a number of people spending longer periods there. She said while the ministry offered rental assistance for those in need, it has had difficulties in getting some tenants to move on,. She pointed out that facilities like the Centre for Socially Displaced Persons (CSDP) in Port of Spain were only temporary measures and felt that tighter management was needed at these centres. "We are looking at an arrangement for our transitional housing and other such services for the management of those facilities. "We would have had some challenges in the past when we do provide accomodation for target groups such as this. It's difficult to get them out of the facilities after the period that they were supposed to be there for, whether it's nine months or a year. "We need to have tight managment, robust management of these facilities, and we feel this is where the private sector can assist us. which resulted in some of these facilities being "lost" to other ministries. She said she hoped the private sector could help by technical advice for manageming these centres. The ministry revealed that as of Monday there were 130 homeless people staying at Riverside Plaza in east Port of Spain.
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WICKETKEEPER/batsman Joshua Da Silva smashed 56 runs while Rovman Powell scored 49 in a one-inning intra-squad exercise among the West Indies’ (WI) One-Day International (ODI) players at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishtan (BKSP) sporting institute on Monday.
After 47 overs, the unofficial team rallied to 258 runs for nine wickets with Da Silva cracking six fours and one six in his 69-ball knock before being run out.
Powell raced to 49 off 40 balls and hit four fours and three sixes during his stint at the crease. He was dismissed trapped leg-before courtesy WI ODI debutant Akeal Hosein, who picked up two wickets for 46 runs from nine overs.
Opener and official vice-captain Sunil Ambris chipped in with 39 while Nkrumah Bonner and Jahmar Hamilton scored 21 and 20 respectively.
ODI skipper Jason Mohammed could only muster up four runs as he was caught behind by Da Silva off Kyle Mayers’ bowling. Andre McCarthy got to 19, Alzarri Joseph scored 18 while Mayers got to nine and Reifer, one.
Reifer, however, topped the bowling with two wickets for 42 runs followed by Hosein. Joseph and Rahkeem Cornwall both bagged one wicket for 20 runs while Mohammed (1/16) and Mayers (1/18) also snagged one each.
The first of three ODIs against Bangladesh bowls off on Wednesday at the Shre Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur followed by the second on Friday and final on Monday.
A 58-year-old Chaguanas man is expected to appear before a San Fernando magistrate on Tuesday charged with three counts of impersonating a police officer earlier this month. Police said Robin Krishna Mahabir went to the Siparia CID at around 3 pm last Friday and claimed to be a police inspector assigned to the department. Officers there asked to see his police identification badge but Mahabir said he did not have one. Mahabir was detained while officers from the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) and the Siparia CID went to his home at Egypt Village, Endeavour, Chaguanas, where they found a radio and police swivel lights installed on his car. Mahabir was charged on Monday for impersonating a police officer.
A man in a black hoodie and a mask said, “Good night” to a woman at a parlour at Mahabir Lane, D’Abadie on Sunday evening. Moments later, the man pulled out a gun and shot dead the woman’s 30-year-old husband while their three children looked on in horror from a window of a relative’s house where they were staying. The children are eight, four and two years old. Newsday was told by relatives at the Forensic Science Centre Jerren Phillips’ two-year-old son, whose name is being withheld, is one of the most traumatised. “He just learned to say, ‘Daddy,’ so all of this week that is all he was saying. Now he is just standing by the window and saying, ‘Daddy, Daddy,’” said Phillips’ wife, who asked not to be named. “The four-year-old doesn’t understand what is happening. She keeps asking me, ‘Mummy, why are you crying?’ “They saw him get shot. They saw when they put him in the body bag. Now they can’t sleep.” The wife said she went to speak to Phillips when she crossed paths with a man who, seconds later, killed her husband. She said at about 7.10 pm on Sunday, she spoke with Phillips who was at a parlour at the front of the yard liming. While there, she saw a man wearing a black hoodie and a mask. “Out of respect, I told him, ‘Good night,’ and he said, ‘Good night,’ back. My husband hailed me out and said he was coming back and went to talk to someone across the road. "Just then, the same man in the black hoodie ran up to him and shot him. Everyone ran when they heard the shots. I ran into the shop. Then I saw him slumping to the ground.” She later found out the children had seen the incident from the house. The family lives at Toco. Phillips was described as loving. His wife told Newsday he was a non-confrontational person. “He never had any altercations with anyone, not even where we live in Toco. He wasn’t the type for bacchanal. He was full of love. If there was a fight around him he would separate it. "Whether this is mistaken identity, I don’t know.” Relatives were also told that the killer came to their house first, but didn’t call for anyone. Newsday was told that Phillips was a fisherman and would fish near his home in Toco. But his engine in his boat was down for about a year, so he decided to take the time to “breeze out” with family and friends in D’Abadie. The murder toll now stands at 15 for the year. Last year the toll for the same period stood at 28.
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UWI has awarded three honorary degrees as part of its ongoing graduation ceremonies. In a statement on Monday, it said the three honorary graduates are Professor Emeritus Edgar Julian Duncan, awarded for his contributions to Caribbean science and agriculture; actor and author Paul Keens- Douglas, for his contributions to culture and the arts; and Len "Boogsie" Sharpe for steelpan composition, arrangement, and performance. At a brief ceremony on Friday at the office of the campus principal at UWI, St Augustine, the graduates received a UWI ring, official honorary degree certificate, canister, citation, and a PhD hood. In his remarks, Prof Brian Copeland, Pro Vice-Chancellor, and campus principal, said, “Intuitive thinking, grounded in learned facts, often leads to the most brilliant designs, inventions, and innovations. “These gentlemen are the proof. Together they represent the fusion of science, technology, and the arts so critical in our education if TT is to truly realise the full potential of our immense talent and creativity.” Copeland added, the academic mementos received placed each of them “squarely in the fold of the UWI.” [caption id="attachment_812017" align="alignnone" width="1024"] File photo: Len "Boogsie" Sharpe[/caption] The 2020 valedictorians were also acknowledged at the ceremony, and also received tokens on behalf of the university. They are Chikara Mitchell for the Faculty of Social Sciences and Dr Shaquille O'Neal Trotman for the Faculty of Medical Sciences. Richard Ali, valedictorian for the Faculties of Science and Technology and Food and Agriculture; Suraj Sakal, for the Faculties of Law and Engineering; and Keitje Greaves, for the Faculty of Humanities and Education, were unable to attend, but were also acknowledged.
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Dr Faith BYisrael
Yes, I am a politician. Yes, I am a candidate in the upcoming Tobago House of Assembly elections, but this article is not about politics. Before I became actively involved in politics, I just voted on election day, without really thinking about the electoral process in TT. In this article, I will try to answer the questions of the “average man” as it relates to elections.
WHAT LAWS GOVERN OUR ELECTIONS?
The Representation of the People Act, Chapter 2:01 is the main law that governs all actions and activities relating to national, local government and Tobago House of Assembly elections. There is also a set of “subsidiary legislation” that specifically outlines the rules that must be followed for free and fair elections to occur. Some of the rules and regulations outlined include: who is allowed to vote, who is allowed to be a candidate, the process of voting as a special elector, the functions of each employee of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), and offences relating to elections.
HOW IS TOBAGO DIVIDED?
There are 12 electoral districts (seats) in Tobago. Each electoral district has approximately 4,000 electors (electors is the official name for individuals who are registered to vote). Each electoral district is further sub-divided into polling divisions. In Goodwood/Belle Garden West for example, there are five polling divisions (Belle Garden, Glamorgan, Pembroke, Goodwood and Mt St George), each with between 500 and 1,200 electors. Depending on the number of electors in each polling division, a division may be further sub-divided into polling stations. For example, Goodwood (polling division no 5,065) has over 1,100 electors, so there are two polling stations (5065-1 and 5065-2).
WHAT IS A “PROSPECTIVE CANDIDATE”?
Although a party may publicly announce who it is sending to contest each seat, that person is not considered a “candidate” until they have been duly nominated. Therefore, individuals who are contesting classify themselves as “prospective candidates” until after nomination day.
WHAT HAPPENS ON NOMINATION DAY?
On nomination day, the prospective candidates are required to do two things: submit a series of documents and pay your nomination fee ($5,000 for the general election and $2,000 for the Tobago House of Assembly election). One of the documents submitted is a “nomination paper” which includes the names and signatures of individuals who can vote in the electoral district, who are “nominating” you to represent them. Only after these two activities have been successfully completed can you say that you are officially a candidate.
CAN YOU WEAR “POLITICAL COLOURS” IN THE POLLING STATION?
The law is clear. On election day you are not allowed to have anything with the symbol or name of a political party within 100 yards of the polling station. This is to prevent anyone from trying to convince or intimidate you into voting for a particular party. You are allowed to wear any colour clothing that you wish.
WHY SHOUT NUMBERS IN A POLLING STATION?
Each person who votes is counted. In other words, each person is given a consecutive number, to ensure that the number of people who voted, matches the number of ballot papers that are counted at the end of the night. For example, if 120 people voted, the last person would be given the consecutive number 120, and when they are counting up the ballot papers, there should be 120 papers in the box. The consecutive number is not written on your ballot paper.
CAN ANYONE KNOW WHO YOU VOTED FOR?
The simple answer is no! No one knows who you voted for unless you tell them. The consecutive number that is shouted by the Polling Clerk is not written on your ballot paper, so there is nothing to show which ballot paper belongs to you.
CAN YOU VOTE WITHOUT A POLLING CARD OR IF YOUR ID IS EXPIRED?
Every elector should receive a polling card, which is a document stating where their polling station is. Even if you have not received this document, you are still allowed to go out and vote, as long as your name if on the registered list of voters. Your name should be on the registered list of voters as long as you are over the age of 18 and have a national ID Card. You can vote even if you ID card is expired.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RED LINE AND GREEN LINE?
If you have your ID and your polling card, you are sent into the green line to collect your ballot paper to vote. If you do not have your ID or your polling card, you will be sent to the red line to verify that your name is on the list and a polling card would be created for you. You would then be given a ballot paper to cast your vote.
To vote is the right of every citizen residing on this island. Election day is possibly the only time when all Tobagonians over the age of 18 are truly equal, because each person has one vote. I am encouraging everyone to come out and vote on election day. It is an opportunity to directly influence who governs this island, and it’s a privilege that you should not waste.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me directly, and I will try to answer them.
Dr Faith BYisrael is a health educator, social scientist, public health specialist and politician.
Email address: DrFaith@ImaniConsulting.Org
Phone number: 494-8827
Facebook Page: @ImaniConsultingAndFoundationTobago
PLAYERS who did not make the 15-man TT Red Force squad for the CG Insurance Super50 Cup, which will take place in Antigua/Barbuda from February 7-27, will turn their focus towards preparation for the Regional Four-Day competition, which is set to bowl off in April. So said TT Red Force coach David Furlonge in an interview on Monday. Among the young crop players who did not make the cut for the Super50 were Jyd Goolie, Tion Webster, Mark Deyal and Isaiah Rajah. Instead, the selection panel, led by Rajendra Mangalie, have opted for experience, with past and present West Indies players Kieron Pollard (captain), Darren Bravo, Ravi Rampaul, Denesh Ramdin, Lendl Simmons, Jason Mohammed, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine, Nicholas Pooran and Imran Khan included in this year’s Super50 squad. Asked about the players who were omitted from the Super50 team, Furlonge replied, “When I came into the position (as coach), I gave the (TT) Cricket Board an itinerary up until the end of May. We have told the players already what is going to happen. “The selectors will call some additional players and they’re going to play at least three three-day trial games in February,” continued Furlonge. “When they don’t have practice matches, they will have training.” According to the Red Force coach, after the Super50 Cup, some Red Force players will join their counterparts to play a few four-day practice matches in March. With regards to the Super50 team, which was announced by the TT Cricket Board (TTCB) on Friday, Furlonge said, “I think it’s a good team that has been selected. We still have a good mix of youth and experience. The average age of the team is 30 years. It’s a mature team and I think the team will do well.” The Red Force, who last copped the title in 2016, were beaten semi-finalists at home in the 2019 edition (the 2020 tournament was cancelled due to the covid19 pandemic). “We had a similar team in 2018 and we lost (in) the semi-final (to eventual winners Combined Campuses and Colleges),” said Furlonge. “This is a similar sort of team that has to remain focused, build and jell together as a unit. It will improve our chances of winning the tournament.” Pooran has returned home from his stint in the Big Bash League in Australia, but he will be joining skipper Pollard, as well as Narine, Lewis, Rampaul and Simmons at the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament, which will take place from January 28 to February 6. Furlonge said that the players have been granted permission to leave for the United Arab Emirates by both the TTCB and Cricket West Indies. Will that hamper the Red Force preparations or are the players able to adapt to suit? Furlonge replied, “The players who are going are all professional players. They’re going abroad to play cricket and they’ll know what they have to do when they get back. “We have some time when they get back to be together, and I think that the bubble situation that we’ll be in, the quarantine situation, that will augur well for building a team bond.” Concerning the Red Force team plans between now and when they leave for Antigua, the Red Force coach said, “We’ll practice this week, (at the National Cricket Centre, Couva on) Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The plans are fluid because we’re awaiting word from (Cricket) West Indies on what is happening, in terms of quarantine status. “I know they’ve asked that when they do the covid test, that we not mix with family (etcetera). It’s something that we’ll waiting on. We have a meeting with (CWI on Tuesday) so we’ll know finally what is happening in terms of going forward.”
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THE National Football Coaches of TT (NFCTT) is eagerly seeking a place among the board of the directors in the TT Football Association (TTFA). NFCTT interim first vice-president Wayne Sheppard, on Monday, said, “We sent in the documentation that we needed through to the (FIFA-appointed) normalisation committee for them to progress the process of us being (represented) at board level. We also made a call to Osmond Downer who was helping us with the constitution draft.” Sheppard said, “We had to put the work with normalisation committee to get us reinstated on the front burner because their mandate is to further align the constitution with FIFA’s constitution. We want to make sure that, in that alignment, we are not left out.” The NFCTT’s interim executive comprises Jefferson George (president), Sheppard, Dernelle Mascall (second vice-president), Curtis Orr (treasurer), Rayshawn Mars (general secretary), Angus Eve, Clayton Morris and Richard Hood (ordinary members). According to Sheppard, the group is pleased with the feedback they have been receiving from the normalisation committee, headed by Robert Hadad. “Jefferson George is the person who’s (on) point on all communications with the normalisation committee,” Sheppard said. “He’s been corresponding with them as it relates to the documents required to get us reinstated at board level. We have been kept up to date by his interactions with them. There is no complaint from that aspect.” Sheppard said that the national coaches, who were hired during the four-month reign of William Wallace as TTFA president, are still hopeful of getting the remainder of the salaries owed to them. “We were paid 50 per cent and we’re still discussing with (the normalisation committee) the time frame for the remaining 50 per cent,” he said. “That matter pertains to the coaches who were appointed to the national positions in early 2020.” With regards to the work being done by the NFCTT, Sheppard said, “We met with the TTOC (TT Olympic Committee) to discuss transparency in governance and those things, the effects of the (covid19) lockdown on sports, and getting things back up. “We also started a covid-relief drive for coaches who are out of work, non-national coaches,” he added. “We distributed some hampers. We had a meeting with the technical director Dion La Foucade (last) weekend.” Sheppard pointed out, “We met with the Pro League, the Super League (and) WoLF. We have to meet with the Tobago coaches, through the Tobago Football Association and then the South, East and North coaches. That will all be done together.”
TT Cycling Federation (TTCF) president Joseph Roberts and racing committee member Joel Browne have been given until Friday to issue a public apology to two-time Olympian Njisane Phillip and his stepfather Phillip Whiteman. The Olympic cyclist and his guardian, through their attorneys Jagdeo Singh and Kristy Mohan, issued a letter to both cycling administrators, on January 15, claiming Roberts and Browne are not duly elected trustees of the TTCF, and such, are unauthorised to bring any legal action against anyone in the name of the cycling federation. On September 18, 2020, the TTCF issued a pre-action protocol letter to Phillip requesting the immediate return of five new Mavic wheels which he allegedly took, without approval, from the National Cycling Centre in Couva on December 23, 2019. The legal letter demanded that Phillip return the wheels “in the condition in which they were taken, that is, new”. It also said that if he is unable to do so, alternatively, he can pay the US$15,600 value of the wheels and the fraternity’s legal costs of $TT7,500. To date, the wheels have not been returned. Phillip maintains his stance the wheels were bought specifically for cyclists preparing for major international competition. Additionally, on November 6, 2020, the cycling federation sent a similar document to Whiteman claiming he owed them an outstanding amount of money which was used to purchase equipment for cyclists Phillip, Nicholas Paul, Kwesi Browne and Keron Bramble towards their 2020 Olympic qualification campaign. Whiteman responded by sending a detailed spreadsheet, with receipts, outlining where and what equipment the money was spent on. According to article 19.5 of the TTCF constitution, two people are to be duly elected as trustees of the TTCF, to sue and defend all legal proceedings instituted by or against the TTCF. The exercise of the power contained in article 19.5 is premised on Article 19.1 of the constitution, which requires an election by the council of the Federation to appoint such members. Newsday confirmed from a TTCF official that Roberts and Browne did serve as trustees under former president Robert Farrier, from 2014 to 2016. After the fraternity’s internal elections, in 2016, Farrier was reappointed president to serve a four-year term. However, no trustees were installed to span the 2016 to 2020 period. It is on these grounds, Phillip and Whiteman have hit back at Roberts and Browne for acting without authority. According to the stepfather/son team, the pre-action protocol letters are, therefore “unattributable” to the TTCF, and do not represent the intentions or interests of the council nor of the TTCF membership, as a whole. Their letter to Roberts and Browne states, “The requisite election of trustees by the council of the Federation pursuant to Article 19.1, did not take place within the preceding four years. “Accordingly, at all material times, there were no duly elected trustees authorised and/or empowered to cause any legal action to be taken in the name of the TTCF in accordance with Article 19.5 of its Constitution. “Consequently, the pre-action protocol letters caused to be issued by you (Roberts and Browne), were done so without the requisite lawful authority and were ultra vires (beyond the powers) of the constitution of the TTCF.” Phillip and Whiteman’s legal team have attributed these actions, particularly by the president, as an “abuse of power”. They said that as president, Roberts is deemed to know the fact that there were no trustees duly elected under Article 19.1 of the constitution. Therefore, “you had no power to authorise the issuance of any legal proceedings in accordance with Article 19.5, against our clients (Phillip and Whiteman), or at all.” Both TTCF-issued pre-action protocol letters were subsequently forwarded to members of the media, published on both the printed and online press, and circulated on social media pages, allowing for mass republication. The January 15 letter to Roberts and Browne added, “Your actions have caused loss of reputation, embarrassment, and humiliation to our clients on both a national and international level. “In the circumstances, we are instructed to hereby call upon you to issue a public apology to our clients for the loss and damage caused by your unauthorised actions and abuse of power. “Should you fail to issue a public apology within seven days hereof, our clients intend to pursue their rights and remedies in law against you.” Whiteman revealed, on Monday, neither he nor Phillip wants to or will sue to the TTCF. However, they would like Roberts and Browne to admit their wrongs publicly and apologise.
JASON Mohammed is the captain of the team to Bangladesh to play in three One-Day Internationals. Only recently he was complaining of not getting an opportunity to represent West Indies (WI) especially after doing so well for the TT team in the past couple of years. I saw him score a century for TT against Guyana in a 50-over final at the Queen’s Park Oval some years ago, on a most difficult pitch with the ball coming through at varying heights and turning viciously, sometimes at a 90-degree angle. A pitch that Sunil Narine got six wickets for nine runs. It was a magnificent knock and one that should have given him tremendous confidence to perform at the highest level. Mohammed,34, would not have too many years left in the game, therefore he has nothing to worry about. He ought not be talking of how challenging and tough the tour will be, when there are only three 50-over games. He should be thinking of giving his players every confidence without mollycoddling them. It’s a young, inexperienced team so he needs to build them up, talking positive all the time and let them know that once committed to a cricket game, one’s approach is to win. There is no other reason for participating. To be fair, I just heard his first interview and it was quite positive; I hope he maintains that calm and attitude during the games. Encouraging all players to concentrate on their game and give of their best, thinking only of their next move to assist the team in winning the game. Kraigg Brathwaite is the captain of the Test team in the absence of Jason Holder. He has been having a lean time lately with the bat. He was even replaced as the vice-captain on the recent tour of NZ to free him of the additional responsibility so he could concentrate on his batting. The intention was good but the arrangement did not work. Nevertheless, he was given the captain’s pennant for this brief two-Test series. The sheer lack of experience in the team chosen, because of the many withdrawals, left the selectors with no option. At least five were unavailable for reasons other than fear of covid19, like having to play in a club franchise tournament or for “personal reasons.” [caption id="attachment_867976" align="alignnone" width="1024"] West Indies cricketers attend a training session at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka, on Sunday. - (AFP PHOTO)[/caption] Brathwaite should work on cleansing the aura of negativity within his team and its management. One keeps hearing statements like; “Obviously going to Bangladesh it’s a very, very, difficult tour because they’re going to prepare spinning pitches and we’ve got to adapt quickly. We’ve got to be ready.” Now, this was said by one of the assistant coaches Roddy Estwick. This coach spouts more negativity than any other I have ever heard. That’s no way to prepare a team, especially a group of inexperienced players, to face off against an international opponent. These youngsters and newcomers now have a built-in excuse for losing. Only two Test matches are scheduled and the coach is saying that it’s a very, very difficult tour and the wickets will be spinning and we have to adapt quickly? My question to Mr Estwick is, what are you doing to prepare them for these two games? What skills are you getting them to practise in the nets? The coach should be expressing motivation, enthusiasm and self-confidence. The answer is in the mind of the players. Already they are being prepared to lose because they are led to believe that Bangladesh are better than they are, especially at home. There are fine words of encouragement from the captain, boosting his players by telling them what a wonderful opportunity this is for them to establish themselves! I commend Brathwaite on his words of reassurance and inspiration. However, there are too many negatives from others. It doesn’t matter whatever team one is playing against, the attitude should always be, “we can win by playing better than they can.” And believe it. What a shock I had when I read that fourteen people comprise the management contingent accompanying the squad of 25 players for the playing of three ODI’s and two Tests. Impossible! I couldn’t believe it. A head coach and three assistant coaches, two Massage therapists, a physiotherapist, a strength and conditioning coach, a team doctor, a mental skills coach (really??), a media and content officer, a security and compliance officer and a team analyst. Then of course the team manager. WOW. Waste of money.
THE National Library and Information System Authority’s (Nalis) presented prizes for its Celebrity Tale-A-Thon competitions which were streamed via Facebook and YouTube on December 19, 2020. Winners of the Write a Paragraph and Spot the Logo competitions received prizes on January 9. The competitions were held during the authority’s 12th annual Celebrity Tale-a-Thon. A media release said the two competitions also gave the viewers opportunities to win prizes. The Write a Paragraph competition, which was targeted to children five-12 years old, invited them to write a paragraph about what they enjoyed most about the event and submit their responses by December 23, 2020. Entrants were judged in the five-six, seven-nine and ten-12 age group. The second competition targeted parents and guardians who were invited to identify how many times the Nalis and Optometrists Today logos appeared on the screen during the programme. The first four entrants to submit the accurate response received designer sunglasses from Optometrists Today. The winners of Write the Paragraph, five-to-six-year category are Vian Barnett and Kacee Figaro. They received hampers from Nestle. Winners in the other categories who won $500-vouchers from Optometrists Today are Gabriel Jobent and Yohann Chadee (seven-nine) and Joshuah Patron and Deandre Mitchell (ten-12). The winners of the Spot the Logo competition are Sheranna Gittens, Shade Francis, Francesca Johnson and Lesley Johnson. [caption id="attachment_867972" align="alignnone" width="768"] Joshuah Patron, one of the winners in the Nalis Celebrity Tale-A-Thon Write a Paragraph Competition receives a $500 gift voucher from Sonia King, assistant marketing manager, Optometrists Today. -[/caption] At the prize-giving ceremony, Gabriella Anne Patron, Joshuah’s mother, said she was grateful to Nalis as the Celebrity Tale-A-Thon gave her an opportunity to engage in a positive mother-son activity, given their busy schedules. Also, she said the stories assisted her son to further develop his comprehension and vocabulary skills. Nalis’ manager of corporate communications Debbie Goodman congratulated all the winners and thanked them for taking the time to view the storytelling event. She said she was impressed with the high quality of submissions received, the children’s focus, creativity and articulation of their feelings about the virtual event. Participants were urged to continue in the programmes and activities conducted by Nalis geared toward educating, entertaining and developing the people of TT.
THE Gift for Life Foundation (GFLF) donated food hampers and gifts to over 500 families and to over 1,000 disadvantaged children living in squatter areas, poor communities and over 25 children’s homes. The foundation conducted its annual drive to assist the homes and communities across the county from December 25, 2020 to January 2021, said a media release. Devices and tablets were also given to needy children as a gifts. The foundation said it continued to work throughout the pandemic and despite a drop in donations, there was a dramatic increase in demands. GFLF said it is grateful to its loyal supporters and corporate sponsors for making the distribution drive successful. The release said the foundation's members were met with thrilled voices, blissful smiles and songs of honour as the gifts and goodies were handed out to the children at homes and in communities. The families were also appreciative of the food hampers, the release said. [caption id="attachment_867968" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Members of the Gift for Life Foundation with children and their families. -[/caption] Some families and children expressed how stifled they felt during the pandemic and said their spirits were lifted to see GFLF’s members bringing cheer to them and also to see Santa Claus – even though no hugging was allowed. On being presented with items, an administrative staff member at a children’s home in East Trinidad said to foundation members, “You all constantly lend a hand to our children to take their mind away from any difficulty and unhappiness and you all always make our children feel extraordinary, and we are certainly very appreciative.” [caption id="attachment_867966" align="alignnone" width="768"] A boy receives gifts from members of the Gift for Life Foundation during its distribution drive to assist communities. -[/caption] GFLF is continuing its food, essentials and back-to-school drive for tablets and devices for the next few months, the release said. For more info and to support the foundation: 672-5157, 734- 0796, 709- 0394 or 475-5090, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.giftforlifefoundationtt.com.
WHILE many people are seeking to return to their respective countries in the face of the covid19 pandemic and many have applied for exemptions – with TT’s borders closed – to return home, Kyra Arthur is not one of them. Even as the pandemic rages on, the 23-year-old University of New Brunswick, Fredericton student decided to stay in Canada even though she had an opportunity to return before the borders closed. Arthur plans to make Canada her home and upon retirement, return to TT to do “amazing things.” She began her studies in TT in 2018 doing business management through Roytec. “I did the University of New Brunswick project with Roytec. That was the programme they had at that time. What would happen is that we would go to school for two years, gain our associate degree and then we would have the option to do one semester or the remainder of our degree in Canada. “I chose to do the rest of my degree in Canada. I am graduating in May of this year. I just have one more semester to complete,” she said during a phone interview. Arthur came to Canada in 2019 as a full-time student and at the end of that year’s fall semester she joined the university’s co-op programme. Co-op programmes in Canada allow students to work in fields related to their study. “That programme is for third and fourth-year students who are transitioning into the working world and who would like to gain some experience in the working world. With the programme you work full-time and you are paid as a full-time person. However, it is only for students who have a 3.0 GPA,” she said. [caption id="attachment_867958" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Nat Perry, career and employment advisor, left, and Kyra Arthur, co-ordinator of Employer Services at The University of New Brusnwick’s 2020 Winter Student Career Fair, co-ordinate and guide students to various booths helping students to connect with potential employers.
-[/caption] At the end of 2019, she got a job with the university’s career development centre. Her job required her to provide jobs for students, be it part-time, full-time or voluntary and she also assisted with matching employers with students. “My main responsibilities were to have interviews with students and have interviews with the employers and set up times for students to be interviewed by employers and make a good or high qualifying connection with students and employers. “I was able to help students with their resumes, give them guidance. I attended info sessions. I let students know of info sessions that were happening, where they can attend work-study programmes or full-time, part-time programmes,” she said. Arthur also liaised with employers and informed them of when students will be on campus, when they won’t, the best times to come to campus. She also managed the department's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to keep the students updated on information. An article on the university’s website said, “Finding a job can be challenging at the best of times, but never more so than during a pandemic. “Enter the Career Development and Employment Centre (CDEC) on the UNB Fredericton campus. “Making a quick pivot, the CDEC enlisted Kyra Arthur, a two-term, co-op student from the faculty of management who was serving as the co-ordinator of employer services, to reach out virtually to potential employers and prospective student employees.” It added that her role called for strong communication skills, insight and empathy. While e-mail was a critical channel between the businesses and students, Arthur “also devised a social media plan that sped up posts about job opportunities and reached more students.” It said, “An international student from TT, Kyra was living in a UNB residence, far from home, during her assignment with CDEC. Drawing on her own experience of adapting to the unexpected, she helped students looking for work build confidence and strengthen their networking skills.” Having to figure out what employers wanted in the new covid19 work environment, Arthur created a questionnaire for employers and their answers were posted for students to review. It added that Arthur’s effectiveness in “less-than-ideal circumstances” enhanced its communications strategies so more students could benefit from its services. Arthur also recently got a position with a software development company as its business development specialist. She hopes to help build the company useful technology to help Canadian citizens and then use the knowledge gained to do the same for TT when she returns. The former NorthGate College student has always had a passion for connecting with young people even though she is young herself, she said. The St Augustine school always pushed its students to be their best no matter what and that is now transferred into everything she does. Canada’s strong delivery system and its forward-thinking culture made the decision for Arthur to stay during the pandemic quite easy. She also loves TT 1,000 per cent and makes it known that she is a Trinidadian everywhere she goes as well as that TT moulded her and made her. [caption id="attachment_867959" align="alignnone" width="960"] TT-born Kyra Arthur is the University of New Brunswick's co-ordinator of employer services and had helped matched many students with emplpyers. Students are seen here parading on orientation day in their dorm colours in front of the Student Union Building at The University of New Brunswick, Fredericton Canada. -[/caption] She also loves ballroom dancing and started dancing in TT in 2016 with Edinburgh Dance studio. She hopes to open a ballroom dance school to help grow confidence in young people. Her mother Kirtia Arthur was at first concerned when her daughter decided to stay “because there was so much uncertainty around and about the pandemic.” “Of course, as a mother my instinct is to be protective. I was never worried as much as I was aware and definitely had my concerns,” she said. However, being able to speak with Arthur everyday and “listen to her confidence, courage and what she planned to do,” knowing that she and her husband, Gary, were there to guide made a world of difference and relieved some of the anxiety and worry. She added that Arthur assured them that the systems provided by the Canadian government would keep her safe and she’d be secure. Her mum said she is proud of all that her daughter has achieved during the pandemic and the way she used her time wisely. “In a time when there was so much panic and uncertainty, I felt that she was always sure of herself and really used the relationships that she had formed to propel her to the next level both as a student and in her career. “She has landed such an amazing opportunity and opportunities. She has widened her network base. She is well known at the university and even secularly through the Chamber of Commerce. She really used the pandemic to her advantage and of course I am secure because I am really, really proud of the individual we have put out into this world. “And even at a time when there is a global pandemic to see her stand so confidently without us physically there, just made her father and I really, really proud.”
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A meeting between Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, representatives of the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) and the TT Registered Nurses Association resulted in agreement on solutions to concerns raised about recent incidents of covid19 cases at the Port of Spain General Hospital (POSGH). In a release, the ministry said discussion centred around four areas aimed at reducing the risk of covid19 transmission at the facility. These were: utilisation of covid19 rapid antigen tests to test patients before admission and increase covid19 staff testing, especially in instances where they have been potentially exposed to the virus; reduction of the patient population to allow for increased social distancing; and, an increased nursing staff to patient ratio. [caption id="attachment_867953" align="alignnone" width="1024"] L-R: NWRHA CEO Salisha Baksh, Health minister Terrence Deyalsingh, TT Registered Nurses Association 2nd Vice President Letitia Cox and TTRNA President Idi Stuart following a meeting about covid19 concerns at the Port of Spain General Hospital - Photo courtesy Ministry of Health[/caption] The ministry said the meeting was cordial and productive as all parties were able to provide their perspectives and discuss solutions to challenges presented. There was general agreement to solutions provided for all four areas of concern. Deyalsingh committed to continued collaboration with the TTRNA and the NWRHA to address the concerns in the shortest time frame possible. NWRHA CEO Salisha Baksh said certain recommendations arising from recent meetings with the TTRNA, such as the increased frequency of the sanitization of wards, had already been implemented. [caption id="attachment_867954" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Representatives of the health ministry, the North West Regional Health Authority and the TT Registered Nurses Association at a meeting concerning covid19 cases at the Port of Spain General Hospital - Photo courtesy Ministry of Health[/caption] The CMO highlighted the fact that healthcare workers are naturally at a higher risk of contracting covid19 than the general population and thus have been placed at the top of the list for the receipt of vaccines once they become available. The minister also reminded attendees that all three organisations share the mutual objective of the wellbeing of all healthcare workers and of patients.
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President general of the All Trinidad General Workers Union (ATGWU) Nirvan Maharaj said serious legislative amendment is the only way to liberate workers. He called on Labour Minister Stephen Mc Clashie to give workers the protection of the law. But secretary general of the Communication Workers Union Clyde Elder said while there are laws, what is lacking is enforcement. He said 2021 the unions must wage a battle for enforcement so people can be held accountable and make a jail for flouting the laws. Elder said while his union has settled negotiations with TSTT up to 2019, the company wanted to pay the retroactive salary over a seven-year period, while its parallel company Amplia was reportedly paying bonuses of $200,000. He said, similarly, workers at Hilton Hotel who were earning less than $5,000 a month, were facing the axe, yet new telephones for three managers were bought for $40,000. “If that is not a crime against workers, I don’t know what is,” Elder said. Maharaj charged, “We are seeing a deliberate, organised and systemic manner in which companies are creating scenarios to ensure a reduction of the labour force through frustration, duress and the continued exploitation of workers.” Alongside this, Maharaj said, at a rally of the umbrella union organisations on Friday, employers are varying the terms and conditions of workers, circumventing registered legal collective agreements, forcing workers to multi-task without adequate compensation and retrenching and laying off workers at their whim and fancy. He said the time had come for the trade union movement to create a united and powerful political lobby to force politicians to amend existing legislation to protect workers. “We have to call on the Labour Minister and by extension the government to give workers the protection of the law.” He advocated for amendment to the Industrial Relations Act, the Retrenchment and Severance Benefits Act and the Companies Act , He said such amendments would ensure “workers are placed on the top of the list of creditors in the event of a wind-up of a company to ensure that company cannot use full retrenchment to escape their financial obligation to workers. He also called for the creation of an indemnity fund which foreign companies must contribute to in order to provide terminal benefits to workers in the events of the wind-up of a company and or the upholding of nay judgements made against these companies by TT’s legal jurisdiction [caption id="attachment_867948" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Clyde Elder -[/caption] Workers like the steelworkers would not be left in limbo, but can access these funds as smooth transition until they find other employment, he said. Elder agreed, saying the Hilton company could pack up its bags and leave the same way Arcelor Mittal left, leaving workers in the same precarious situation. Maharaj said reform of the Registration, Recognition and Certification board is also needed since unions often face the daunting task of applications for recognition taking years to process and in some cases recognition being granted after some companies have closed down “The process must take no longer than three months.” Speaking on the same virtual platform, president of the TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Antonia De Freitas said she had had enough of the disrespect meted out to workers and their union by employers. “TT was built on the back of workers. Society was developed because of the efforts of our educators. In addition to legislative reform, TTUTA called on the Ministry of Education to fulfil its obligation under the Education Act (Section 74 E and 63(1) to meet and treat with them on teachers’ terms and conditions of employment relating to their return to school. “Nobody outside the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) and the union have the jurisdiction in that regard. “It is unfathomable the Minister of Education would suggest that Cabinet would be approached on issues affecting terms and conditions of teachers rather than having such discussion take place between TTUTA as the recognised majority union and the CPO as the employer. “Smoke in front, fire behind,” she warned.
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THE RURAL Development and Local Government Ministry says all local government corporations in Trinidad have been severely impacted financially because of the covid19 pandemic. While some decisions taken by some corporations may upset some people, the ministry explained those decisions are necessary to ensure that respective burgesses are able to continue to receive the services they need. The ministry gave this response on Friday to complaints by UNC councillors and aldermen at the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation (TPRC) about plans by that corporation to increase certain fees. In a statement, Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein said, "While persons may be upset by the decisions of the Council, we must understand the economic challenges facing not only our country but the world." Hosein defended the proposed increases. He said they would "benefit the burgesses themselves and is in line with the plans for local government reform." Hosein explained that with the implementation of local government reform, monies generated from market fees, wrecking fees, food badges, vending permissions, and rental of corporation venues will allow all corporations to earn additional revenue which will be put towards better serving their communities. In the same statement, TPRC chairman Kwasi Robinson said the same increases now being objected to by the corporation's UNC representatives, were approved by their party as part of the former PP government. He also disclosed that this matter was scheduled for implementation for over one year now. "There comes a time when difficult decisions must be made and we as local government practitioners have a duty to the people to make such decisions with the benefit of all burgesses at the forefront." Robinson added, "We, at the TPRC remain committed to efficiently provide the much-needed goods and services to all our burgesses." In a statement on Wednesday, the UNC complained that the proposed fee increase was inconsiderate. "It's unfathomable that the PNM voted for this with no thought as to how it would affect the average citizen during these trying times." The UNC urged Hosen and the PNM members of the TPRC "to have a heart, think about the financial and economic crises their burgesses are currently in and reverse this decision."
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The Barataria branch of the women's organisation, Coterie of Social Workers, has had its spaces upgraded for the comfort of its seniors with the help of Digicel. The recent upgrades included re-painting of inner and outer walls; purchase of fans, tables and chairs; and the installation of a sound system. The Coterie of Social Worker team partnered with the Digicel Foundation to complete the $25,000 project as part of an Extraordinary Projects Impacting Communities (EPIC) initiative. It is intended for a relaxed space for seniors to gather and socialise, with the eventual lifting of covid19 restrictions. Before the pandemic, the seniors’ activity centre was active with dance, music, and other developmental and interactive workshops. Fund-raising became a particular challenge for the community group, where little priority could be spent on enriching the lives of the elderly. Vice-chairman of The Coterie of Social Workers Cynthia Sifontis said it felt hopeless before the Digicel Foundation stepped in. She said, "This refurbishment was long overdue and sourcing funds to execute the project became very difficult for the organisation." The Digicel Foundation launched EPIC in 2016. Over 31,000 people have since been impacted by its small-grants initiative. The Coterie of Social Workers has been among the 100 EPIC partners engaged in the foundation’s community engagement efforts. The Coterie of Social Workers was established in 1921 to engage in empowering local women as well as providing benevolent assistance to the poor and disadvantaged.
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DIGICEL Business has launched the Digicel Business Hub, which it described as an all-in-one Information Technology package equipped with tools and support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Digicel Business Hub base bundle includes business internet, local area network and Wi-Fi, mobile phones with a business plan, smart office phones, Microsoft 365 & Teams, anti-virus security software, device endpoint management, and professional and managed services for a flat fee. Upgrades such as additional users and other custom add-ons are also available. Upon the package's release, Digicel Group chief business officer Tom Carson said, "(Last year) was a challenging year for everyone, but in many instances it also provided the catalyst for innovation, with many venturing into entrepreneurship as the traditional economy became more unpredictable. The value of a reliable IT system and support team also became even more apparent and we’re proud that we can position Digicel Business Hub to help small and medium businesses in this way." With major international partners like Cisco, Microsoft, IBM, Fortinet, and others, Digicel Business Hub, Digicel says, seeks to future-proof businesses and keep them connected on-the-go through our award-winning networks and IT services in one simple package. Carson added, "We can’t go back now. Before, there was a slower transition to going digital, but now that so many businesses were forced to pivot while the world was in lock-down, there’s a general expectation that we can work remotely and operate successfully online. Digicel is prepared to help support businesses in TT as they make that transition to the new ways of working."